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Habermas's public sphere and Deliberative Democracy: theory, ethical model and critical discourse

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  • Save American Journal of Sociological Research 2012, 2(4): 58-71 DOI: 10.5923/j.sociology.20120204.02 Public Sphere and Deliberative Democracy in Jürgen Habermas: Theorethical Model and Critical Discourses Jorge Adriano Lubenow Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Paraiba, João Pessoa, Brazil Abstract The a im of this paper is to present the theoretical model and the ma jor c rit ical discourses about the category of the public sphere, and its centrality in the formu lation of deliberat ive democracy, both from the new settings and transformations of the conception of politics in Habermas’ writings, as well as fro m the debate on deliberative democracy unleashed in confrontation and beyond to the political tradit ions of liberalis m and republicanism. In the early ’90s, Habermas introduces important changes in the investigations on the public sphere and democracy, reshaping the relationship between system and lifewo rld in an offensive emphasis on systemic dimension translated into terms of deliberative procedural polit ics or deliberative democracy. However, despite the different ways of understanding the power circu lation among civ il society, public sphere and polit ical and ad min istrative system, many theorists have questioned the basic assumptions of the Habermasian deliberative public sphere and democracy. For our purposes, we are going to clarify the most important critical discourses about the controversies involving the deliberative public sphere and democracy and the critical issues that have become not just problemat ic for literature but that could also be better investigated. Keywords Jürgen Habermas, Public Sphere, Deliberative Democracy, Crit ical Co mments 1. Introduction This paper discusses the Habermas’ conceptions of public sphere and deliberative democracy fro m two different but complementary perspectives. From the internal perspective, a new way to think the relationship between system and lifewo rld, a new circulat ion model of political power which has the deliberative public sphere as the key normative concept. This concept is central to understand the new conception of politics formu lated by Habermas in Fakt izität und Geltung[1]: the normat ive expectations of deliberative democracy are grounded on the concept of deliberative public sphere. From the external perspective, the debate with the liberal and republican political tradit ions. The Habermasian conception of deliberative democracy represents a turn in the contemporary debates about politics beyond liberalis m and republicanism. However, the argu ments about the concepts of deliberative public sphere and democracy have been largely criticized; crit ical studies have questioned the central arguments of deliberative public sphere and democracy and its practical d ifficult ies. 2. Objectives * Corresponding author: (Jorge Adriano Lubenow) Published online at Copyright © 2012 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved The analysis and discussions of this paper have the following objectives: - To present the conception of deliberative democracy, by the new model of power circulation between system and lifewo rld, and by the debates about politics beyond liberalism and republicanis m; - To clarify the conception of deliberative public sphere as the key-concept of Habermas’ deliberative democracy; and, finally, - To list the most important crit ical discourses about the deliberative public sphere and democracy, especially the controversial questions about the articulation between weak and strong public sphere, the formality of deliberative proceduralism, the weakness of practical imp lications, the opportunities of effectiveness, the inability to provide substantive principles of justice, the institutional difficulties in the national and international arenas of politics. Despite approaches of public sphere and deliberat ive democracy - either defensive or critical -, they do not approach it fro mthe perspective of Habermasian deliberative public sphere, or they do it in a secondary way. 3. Methods For elucidating the proposed objectives, the methodology used was the theoretical approach through the reading of Habermas’ original texts about public sphere and deliberative democracy, and the opposition at the theoretical level of the main crit ical discourses from the most relevant 59 American Journal of Sociological Research 2012, 2(4): 58-71 commentators of the contemporary debate about deliberative democracy and its difficult ies and possibilities. In this sense, this paper is a systematic analysis of the appropriate theoretical framework involving the public sphere and deliberative democracy, able to help elucidating the following questions: what is the new understanding of the deliberative public sphere and politics? Is the deliberation emphasis based on the normative and consensual elements of deliberative model or is it based on a realistic emphasis on interests and conflict potential? Do deliberative procedural mechanis ms contrive to protect opinion and will political formation fro m influences? Does deliberative model contrive to neutralize and suspend economic, social, cultural, cognitive disparities, and promote a satisfactory result of equality and justice? Does its cognitive aspect really introduce a gradual abolition of these inequality and disparities, pro mote equality and produce fair political results? Is it about ideal deliberat ion processes or effective deliberation? Finally, wh ich questions have become problemat ic fo r the crit ical literature and could be better in v es tig ated ? 4. Discussion 4.1. The Conception of Deli berati ve Democracy In Habermas’ wo rk Faktizität und Geltung[2], the unfolding regarding conception of democracy are mo re detailed by the paper of public sphere and its more effective penetration over the politics, translated in an emphasis in institutionalizat ion. The exam of institutional processes is also a most systematic investigation about the political potential of the speech, and another attempt, more realistic, of answering the question about reciprocal action between social integrative solidarity o f lifeworld with the procedures on political and administrative level. This most systematic investigation is also a habermasian strategy of responding to the criticisms and showing that the Theorie des ko mmunikativen Handelns[3] is not blind to the institutions reality[4]. The reformu lation of the relation between system and lifeworld prepares the way to a new circulat ion model of political power, which has as central the deliberative procedural conception of democracy. 4.1.1. Lifeworld and System: New Model of Po wer Circulat ion The criticisms to imprecision of institutional imp licat ions of habermasian conception of public sphere in Theorie des ko mmunikativen Handelns[5]... make Habermas point out a reformu lation of system-lifewo rld system, with the necessity of “double flu x”, able to invigorate the institutions. The idea of “besiegement” makes frag ile the political conception that results from theoretical frame of the work of co mmun icative action. The conception of polit ics that results fro m the work about communicat ive action did not allow internal auto democratizat ion of the system. So, the key question here for Habermas is: who invigorates the institutions?. Conceptual framework which obligates Habermas to rethink the articulation between social spontaneity and functional complexity, the nexus between communicative power created communicatively and administrative power formally organized on polit ical system. Fro m second half of decade of 80, Habermas introduces significant changes during his investigations about public sphere when he comes back to put emphasis in the institutionalizat ion question[6]. In th is way, he reformu lates the system-lifeworld relat ion and alters the characteristics of public sphere; dimension it again inside of a “sluice” system. In Theorie des ko mmun ikat iven Handelns[7], Habermas defines public sphere as constituted of lifeworld, responsible for guaranteeing its autonomy and protecting it fro m administrated system. A sphere of “defensive” character that, at most, could “besiege” the system, but with no great pretensions of conquest. Then in Fa ktizität und Geltung, Habermas confers to public sphere a more “offensive” character, he abandons the metaphor of “besiegement” and replaces it adopting the “sluice” model[8]. When he reformu lates the relation between system and lifewo rld, he also ends modifying, not so much the position, but the offensive character of public sphere. In such case, where does modified public sphere get situated and what role does it play in this new way to see the reciprocal action between system and lifewo rld? In the offensive counterpart of the new circulat ion model of polit ics model, the category of public sphere is dimensioned again inside of this new model of sluices and it assumes a more wide and active role along with formal processes mediated institutionally. With the new connecting model, co mmun ication and decision processes of political system are structured through a sluices system, in which communicat ion and decision processes are already anchored in the lifeworld by a “structural opening”, allowed by a sensitive public sphere, permeable, able to introduce on political system conflicts existents in periphery. Now, political system is not thought auto poetically any more, but it is constituted as a poliarchic center. Here, Habermas recognizes that the fortress image besieged democratically which applied to the State in the 80’s in Theorie..., can induce to the error, because it does not allow an internal auto democratizat ion of the system[9]. The following passage gets clear the abandon of the disconnecting thesis between system and lifeworld and the formulation of a different conception of power and political system in Fakt izität und Geltung: The nucleus of the political system consists of the following institutional complexes, already known: the administration (including government), the judiciary and the democratic formation of opinion and will (including parliamentary corporations, political elections, competition between parties, etc). Therefore, this center, which is outlined against a periphery ramified, through formal decision-making powers and real prerogatives, is formed in “poliarchy” manner. W ithin the nucleus the “capacity of action” varies depending of the “density” of the organizing Jorge Adriano Lubenow: Public Sphere and Deliberative Democracy in Jürgen Habermas: 60 Theorethical M odel and Critical Discourses complexity. The parliamentary co mp lex is more open to the perception and thematization of social problems[…] In the margins of ad ministration it is formed a kind of inner periphery, wh ich covers various institutions, equipped with different types of rights of self-government o r delegated state functions, of control or sovereignty (universities, insurance systems, representation of corporations, chambers, charities, foundations, etc). Taken as a who le, the nucleus has an external periphery wh ich bifurcates, roughly, in buyers and s u pp liers .[ 10 ] The offensive counterpart of public sphere about the politics seats on the emphasis on institutionalization processes. For Habermas, this development is t ight to a normative process, which it is in itiated by opinion and will formation on informal public spheres, and it culminates, by procedural way, on deliberation and decision formal instances. This process of “opening” to an institutionalizat ion is anchored in a wide concept of procedural and deliberative de mocracy. 4.1.2. Deliberat ive Democracy Perhaps Habermas has not been the first to write about “deliberation”[11], but he is the most prominent defender of deliberative theory of democracy[12]. In decade of 80, Habermas emphasizes the “institutionalization” question. In Faktizität und Geltung[13], he formu lates an institutionalizat ion project which is oriented by procedural paradigm of democracy. Therewith, he wants to solve the problem o f how discursive format ion of opinion and will can be institutionalized, reciprocal action between informal spheres of lifeworld with formal spheres of processes of institutionalized decision-making, how to change communicat ive power in ad min istrative power. The habermasian polit ical thought is directed to a democracy theory, now thought in institutional terms. Hence, there is attention with presuppositions, institutional arrangements and mechanisms of political control. Therefore, Habermas elaborates a theory of procedural and deliberat ive democracy, fro m “sluices” model. The conception of deliberative polit ical is an attempt to formulate a democracy theory fro m t wo theoretical-political traditions: the conception of public autonomy of republican politica l theory (general will, popular sovereignty), with the conception of private autonomy of liberal political theory (privates interests, individual freedo ms). It can be conceived, simu ltaneously, as a middle-term and an alternative to liberal and republican models[14]. Ho wever, although the general theme is the same, there are different v isions of deliberative democracy, wh ich confer different levels of democrat ic processes and different ways to understand the frontiers between private autonomy and public autonomy. Although there is no possibility of rendering account of detailed internal differentiations of these different comp rehensions, there is, otherwise, authors who try to reformulate internally elements of liberal model of democracy, and on the other side, there are those who refute the liberal paradig m showing new alternatives[15]. But, differently fro m who really rejects liberal t radition, Habermas still t ry to conciliate liberal and republican traditions. Nevertheless, if the deliberat ive theory is an alternative in the presence of liberal and republican models, what is the news? Can deliberative model “ make the diffe rence”?[16] “Deliberation” is a normative category which underlines a procedural conception of democratic legit imacy, according to Habermas. This normat ive conception creates a different conceptual matrix to define the nature of democrat ic process[17], under regulative aspects (or normative exigencies) of publicity, rationality and equality[18]. Even though there is also an empirical-exp licat ive character, the emphasis of habermasian concept of procedural democracy is based on critical-normat ive character. The p rocedural conception of democracy is a formal conception and is based on normative exigencies of enlargement of indiv idual participation on deliberation and decision processes and on development of a democratic political cu lture. Thus, this conception is centered on formal procedures which indicate “who” participates and “how” to do it (or who is legit imated to participate or doing it), but it does not say anything about “what” must be decided. In other words, democratic p rocess rules (regular elect ions, majority princip le, universal suffrage, power alternation) do not give any orientation neither can guarantee the deliberation and decision “content”. For Habermas, t wo normative models of democracy have dominated the debate so far: the liberal and the republican. Therewith, he proposes an alternative model: the procedural[19]. The co mparat ive polit ical dimension discussed by the author is the democratic format ion of opinion and will[20]. Moreover, the distinct understanding of democratic process also involves distinct normative comprehensions of state, society, legitimacy and popular s o vereig n . On liberal model, the democratic process has as objective intermediating the society (a structured system according to market laws, private interests) and the State (as an instrument of public ad ministration). Therein, the polit ics has the function of aggregating social interests and imposing them to state system; it is essentially a fight for positions which allow disposing of admin istrative power, an authorization for power positions being occupied. The formation process of political will and opinion is determined by concurrence among collect ive agents acting strategically to keep or conquer power positions. Thus, this political co mprehension acts as a society concept centered on State (as the core of political power). As it is not possible eliminating the separation between State and society, it aims to overcome only by democratic process. However, the normative connotation of power and interests balance is fragile and needs to be complemented in a state and juridical way. But it gets oriented by output side of evaluation of state activity results. The exit on this process is measured by citizen concordance in relation to people and programs, quantified in votes[21]. On republican model, democratic process goes beyond 61 American Journal of Sociological Research 2012, 2(4): 58-71 this med iator function. It shows the necessity of opinion, will and social solidarity format ion which results fro m reflection and awareness of free and equal social actors. Therein, the politics does not obey market procedures, but the structures of public co mmunication o riented by mutual understanding, configured at a public space. This exercise of society auto-organization by citizens by collective via would be able to lend leg itimated strength to public process. Through political auto-organization of society, this comp rehension of republican politics acts as a concept of society orientated against State (society is the core of politics). It gets oriented by input of a political will format ion[22]. The deliberative model, in its turn, receives elements from both sides and it integrates them in a new and dis tinct manner in a concept of ideal procedure for deliberations and decision-makings. This comprehension of democrat ic process has stronger normative connotations than liberal model, but less normative than republican model. As the republicanis m, the discursive democratic theory reserves a central position to political process of opinion and will formation, however without understanding the state-juridical constitution as something secondary[23]. Like the liberal model, on discursive democratic theory the limits between State and society are also respected. Notwithstanding, here, the civil society, as social base of autonomous public opinions, gets distinguished fro m econo mic action systems as much as fro m public admin istration. This co mprehension of democrat ic procedure results normatively in exigency of weights dislocating which gets applied to each one of the elements in the relation of the three resources – money, administrative power and solidarity, fro m which modern societies fulfill their necessity of integration and regulation. The normative imp licat ions are evident: the social-integrative strength of solidarity, which cannot be obtained anymore, but it can only be extracted fro m communicat ive action sources, needs to be developed at diverse autonomous public spaces and the procedures of democratic format ion of opinion and politica l will need to be institutionalized in juridica l and state manner; and also needs to be able to affirmed against the two other powers: money and admin istrative power[24]. The procedural principle of democracy aims to tight a normative procedure (wh ich means: a process of institutionalizat ion of rational formation of opin ion and will), through procedural character that guarantees formally equal participation on processes of discursive formation of opinion and will and it establishes with that a legitimate procedure of normative process. In this pathway, via procedure and deliberation, which constitutes the core of democrat ic process, communicat ive presuppositions of opinion and will formation work as the most important “sluice” for discursive rationalizat ion of decisions on institutional ambit. Democratic procedures offer rational results as institutionalized formation of opin ion and will is sensitive to the results of its informal format ion of opinion wh ich results fro m autonomous public spheres and gets formed about them. The public communicat ions, which come fro m peripheral nets, are captured and filtered by associations, parties and communicat ions, and canalized to institutional foru ms of resolution and decision-making: The key of procedural conception of democracy consists in the fact that democratic process institutionalizes discourses and negotiations with the assistance of communicat ions forms which should justify the assumption of rat ionality for all the obtained results according to the p ro cess .[25 ] How it is seen on this passage, fro m normat ive point of view, what lends legit imate strength to “procedure” is fairly the path or the argumentative ground of discursive foundation which is developed on public sphere. Th is path aims to guarantee the equal use of communicat ive freedo ms, also conferring by this way leg itimate strength to normative process. In other words, procedural co mprehension of democracy tried to show that commun icative presuppositions and process conditions of opinion formation are the only source of legitimation; that democratic opinion and will format ion takes its legitimate strength from communicat ive presuppositions and democratic procedures. Procedures which fundament a measure for influence legitimacy e xerted by public opinions about forma l sphere of political system. To be leg itimate, decisions have to be regulated by communicat ive flu xes which co me fro m periphery and cross procedure sluices of democracy. The very sphere public pressure gets to force the questions elaboration and, therewith, it gets to actualize sensibilit ies in relation to politica l responsibilities[26]. In the democratic theory perspective, the public sphere has to increase the pressure exerted by the problems, in other words, it can not be limited to see and identify them, it should also thematize, problematize and dramatize them convincingly and effectively, until they are undertaken and prepared by parliamentary co mplex.[27] 4.2. The Conception of Deli berati ve Public S phere There are no doubts normative conception of “deliberative” public sphere formulated in Fakt izität und Geltung[28] means a reorientation of theoretical focus in relat ion to anterior formu lations, especially in Stru kturwandel der Öffentlichkeit[29], Theorie des Ko mmunikativen Handelns[30], and in “preface” to new edit ion of Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit[31], published in 1990. The new role of public sphere inside of a democracy deliberative theory emphasizes even more the enlargement of public sphere category, already sketched in “preface” of 1990, but now with a more effect ive influence on formal and institutionalized contexts of deliberation and political decision[32]. What it is interesting to clear here is: what is the specificity of public sphere category in Faktizität und Geltung[33]? In habermasian language, deliberat ive democracy procedure constitutes the heart of democratic process[34]. The public sphere, in its turn, is the key normative category of habermasian deliberative polit ical process. The public sphere is an “intermediate structure” which makes the Jorge Adriano Lubenow: Public Sphere and Deliberative Democracy in Jürgen Habermas: 62 Theorethical M odel and Critical Discourses med iation among State, political system and private sectors of lifeworld [35]. A “commun icative structure”, a potential center of public co mmun ication, wh ich reveals a ratiocination of public nature, of polit ical opin ion and will formation, fixed in lifeworld through civil society. The public sphere has to do with “social space” fro m where a discursive formation of political opinion and will can emerge[36]. On its core, the conflicts collide around communicat ive flu xes control which goes through the threshold among lifeworld, civ il society and polit ical and administrative system. The public sphere constitutes a “resonance box”[37], with a sensitive sensors system to the amb it of all society[38], and has as function filtering and synthesizing themes, argu ments and contributions, and transporting them to institutionalized processes level of resolution and decision, introducing on political system the existed conflicts on civil society, with the purpose of exerting influence and directing regulation and power circulat ion processes of political system[39], through an structural, sensitive and porous opening, anchored on lifewo rld[40]. In Habermas’ words: Sphere or public space is a social ele mentary phenomenon as well as the action, the actor, group or commun ity, but it is not enrolled among the traditional concepts developed to describe the social order. The public sphere can not be understood as an institution nor as an organizat ion, because it constitutes a normative framework capable of d ifferentiating among co mpetencies and roles, or regulating the way of belonging to an organization, etc. Neither it constitutes a system, because even it is possible to delineate their internal boundaries, externally it is characterized by open, permeab le and moveable horizons. The public sphere can be described as an appropriate network fo r the commun ication of content, positions and opinions, in which co mmun icative flu xes are filtered and synthesized until they get condensed in public opinions bundled in specific themes. Just as the lifeworld taken as a whole, the public sphere is reproduced through communicat ive action, imp lying only the domain of natural language; it is in harmony with general understanding of quotidian communicative practice. We found out that the lifewo rld is a reservoir for simp le intentions; and the specialized systems of action and knowledge which are formed in the interior of lifeworld, remain bound to it. They get bind to the general functions of reproduction of the lifewo rld (such as religion, school and family ), or to different aspects of communicated knowledge validity through the common language (such as science, morality and art). However, the public sphere does not specialize in any of these directions; therefore, when it covers political relevant questions it leaves to the political system the specialized development. The public sphere consists primarily of a communicat ive structure of the act oriented by understanding, which has to do with social space generated in co mmunicat ive action, and not with the functions or with the contents of everyday communicat ion.[41] However, in spite of this more general definition, how is possible determin ing which specificity is, fixing the extension or internal and external limits, and establishing what is inside and what is outside? Let’s see this other p ass age: It (the public sphere) represents a complex net work that ramifies in a countless international, national, regional, communal and subculture arenas, which overlap each other; this network is objectively articulated according to functional point of views, circ le themes, etc., taking the form of public spheres more or less specialized, but still accessible to a lay public (for examp le, literary, ecclesiastical, art istic, femin istic public spheres, or even “alternative” public spheres of health policy, science and others); furthermore, it differs by levels, according to the density of communication, organizational co mplexity and scope, forming three types of public sphere: the episodic public sphere (bars, cafes, street encounters), the public sphere of organized presence (parents meet ings, the public that frequents the theater, rock concerts, parties meet ings or churches conferences), and the abstract public sphere produced by the media (readers, listeners and singular viewers and spread globally ). Despite these differences, the partial public spheres constituted by ordinary common language, are porous, allowing the connection with them. Internal social limits decomposes the “text” of public sphere, which dramat ically extends in all directions[...] Inside the general public sphere, defined by its relat ion with political system, the boundaries are not rigid in principle.[42] These two passages above are elucidative here and synthetize the normative statute of deliberative public sphere category, formulated on work about right and democracy. The public sphere has as elemental characteristic being an unrestricted space of public co mmunication and deliberat ion, which cannot be anteriorly established, limited or restricted; the constitutive elements cannot be anticipated. On principle, it is opened for all social amb its. There are no themes or contributions a priori included or excluded. Public sphere is always undetermined as for contents of political agenda, individuals and groups which can figurate on it. It is because of this Habermas does not want (neither can) describe, precisely, what the internal and external lines are, what the public sphere frontiers are, although he needs, on the other side, certain auto-limitat ion, for not being at the mercy of all and any kind of public manifestation (as strategic communicat ion forms). This is the constitutive double character of public sphere, by which it ends oscillating among the exigency of free participation, themes and contributions circulat ion and certain auto-limitat ion[43]. Therefore, Habermas proposes adopting procedural idea of public deliberat ion, by which the “contours” of public sphere get forged during identification processes, filtering and interpretation around themes and contributions that emerge fro m autonomous public sphere and are conducted by formal and institutionalized foru ms of polit ical and administrative system[44]. It is on this procedural character o f legit imacy justification where public sphere normat ivity is realized[45]. It is fro m inter-relation between informal public spheres and formal public sphere – whatever is, fro m co mmun icative flu xes and public influences which emerge fro m informal 63 American Journal of Sociological Research 2012, 2(4): 58-71 public sphere and autonomous, and are changed in communicat ive power and transported to formal sphere – which derives the expectative normative of public sphere. In Habermas’ wo rds: The normative expectation[...] is based on the game established between political formation of will, institutionally constituted, and the spontaneous communicat ive flows of a non organized and non programmed to make decisions public sphere, wh ich are not absorbed by the power. In this context, the public sphere works as a normative category.[46] But how does this junction of informal public sphere and forma l public sphere work? According to Habermas, through different levels of public sphere, as informal format ion of opinion on informal public sphere, in associations, inside parties, participation in general elections, parliamentary corporations and government[47]. Therefore, there is a necessity of complementing opinion and will parliamentary and parties’ formation. But, in spite of having this formal aspect, of conducting it to institutionalization via parties, elections and other foru ms, public sphere is not institutionalized, neither is systemic: “Public sphere cannot be understood as an institution[...]. Neither it constitutes a system, because even it is possible to delineate its internal limits, exteriorly it is characterized through opened, permeab le and dislocated horizons”[48]. However, if political public sphere is the centra l category of habermasian comprehension of deliberative political procedure, it is not on its whole. The normative content of public sphere is not restrained to institutional arrangements; it depends also on informal public sphere. And here, it can be seen clearly the role of integrant informal foru ms of public sphere wh ich were already present in Theorie des ko mmunikativen Handelns[49]. Although the decisionmaking and the reasons filtering via parliamentary formal procedure still stay as formal public sphere tasks, the informal spheres are the ones which have the responsibility of identifying and interpreting social problems. It is seen certain “hierarch izat ion” which follows two ways of will and opinion formation: the informal and the institutionalized. The procedural way of institutionalization of practice of civ il society auto-determination fo llo ws fro m horizontal socialization to vertical forms of relevant themes filtering and organization[50]. So far we have seen that the conception of deliberative politics is mainly broached under legitimacy aspect[51]. We have also seen that the “procedure” notion of deliberative politics is the core o f habermasian democratic process. When it is fo rged on public sphere, the procedure (and what comes fro m it) gives elemental base of measure of leg itimacy, and, therein, the normative fundament or justification too. The normative sense of public sphere is conferring legit imate strength to deliberative polit ics of procedure; the normative sense is on legitimate strength of discussion and deliberation process which develops in its interior. The democrat ic process of deliberation carries a leg itimacy load[52]. And fro m here “co mmunicative power” gro ws. Co mmun icative power is the “power” that results fro mdeliberative procedure of discussion and deliberation, which takes shape on public sphere and generally is opposed to political-ad ministrative power sphere[53]. However, in Faktizität und Geltung[54] public sphere does not exert power, but influence. This is the difference in relat ion to the idea of “besiegement” of Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns[55]. The figuration on public sphere does not intend the besiegement (nor the conflict goes around of it), but the different kinds of in fluence. That is the influence which needs to be mediated. Therefore, the principle of popular sovereign is fundamental as procedure[56]. Deliberative politics obtains its legitimate strength from discursive structure of a public p rocess of polit ical opinion and will format ion, which fulfills its integrated social function thanks to the expectative of rational quality of its results. Therefore, the discursive level of observed political communicat ions can be taken as a measure to evaluate the efficacy of procedural reason[57]. Hence, the discursive level of public debate constitutes the most important variable[58]. But, how does it measure the quality and the discursive level of public co mmun ication forms? For the author, the “influence of majority” gives an alternative here and it constitutes an empirica l greatness[59]. 4.3. Critical Discourses To explain the conception of deliberative procedural democracy, Habermas makes use of a normat ive conception of rat ional speech. Ho wever, this conception is not understood as a philosophical idea; it has a reconstructive character: of a reconstructive procedural sociology, aiming at elucidating on political practices incorporated elements, even distorted, of existent reason[60]. With this democracy deliberat ive propose, we see a Habermas’ exp licit option: the deliberative procedure description serves as back-cloth to the circulation propose and communicative power imp lantation, anchored on a sluices system. Co mmunicative flu xes can migrate as much fro m the center to periphery as fro m periphery to center, depending on who determines or controls the orientation of communicat ion flu xes. But in spite of these two ways to elaborate themes, questions and problems, Habermas is interested on the way which culminates in formal treat ment of new and polit ically relevant themes which emerge fro m lifewo rld and public sphere of civil society, and that migrate fro m periphery to center: “The idea of democracy rests, without further appeal, on the fact that polit ical processes of will format ion, which on the scheme delineated here has a peripheral or intermed iated status, must be decisive to political develop ment”[61]. However, the argu ments in behalf of deliberat ive conception of public sphere and politics have been target of many crit icis ms. Many theoretic which get occupied with democratic theories have questioned the basic assumptions of deliberat ive polit ical theory wh ich results from the work about right and democracy, indicating many fragile points: its tireless proceduralis m; the idealist character; the fact that Jorge Adriano Lubenow: Public Sphere and Deliberative Democracy in Jürgen Habermas: 64 Theorethical M odel and Critical Discourses the propose of institutions democratic reform would not be that radical; the inability of giving substantive principles of social justice; the fact that, in spite of practical intentionality, Habermas does not make exp licit any particular addressee (who m he addresses himself to?); the fact that deliberative characteristics or presuppositions get only manifested in specific and restrict forms; among other things[62]. We are not going to follow here the critical bib liography about public sphere and deliberative democracy in its amp litude and, therefore, we are not going to reproduce in details the discussions and controversies about the theme. Habermas’ debate with philosophic- normative approaches, among liberals, commun itarians and proceduralists remains incomp lete[63]. For our proposes, we are going to restrict ourselves to some co mments about deliberation, especially those involving deliberative public sphere. The introduction of the principle of deliberat ive legitimacy on democrat ic process means recognizing, by the actors, that the introduced reasons on discussion and deliberation procedure and the reached result happened under normat ive spotlights. However, the doubts which appear are: are deliberat ive procedures only rat ional argumentation procedures or they also refer to substantive rational considerations? Is the deliberation emphasis upon the normat ive and consensual elements of deliberat ive model or it is a realistic emphasis on interests and conflict potential on them? Do deliberative procedural mechanisms contrive to protect opinion and will political fo rmation fro m in fluences? Does deliberative model contrive to neutralize and suspend economic, social, cultural, cognitive disparit ies, among other things, and promote a satisfactory result of equality and justice? Does its cognitive aspect really introduce a gradual abolition of these inequality and disparities, promote equality and produce fair politica l results? Finally, is it about ideal de liberat ion processes or effective deliberat ion? The political expectative of a normative public sphere are deposited on critical strength of public co mmunication and power circulation deliberative model. But, though this kind of public co mmun ication carries strong normative expectative of understanding and consensus, limitations for realization of such commun ication conditions are well known. There are examp les, observed in bib liography, of internal and external limited presuppositions. No consents, non-discursive forms of public co mmunicat ion, inequalities, asymmetries, social stratificat ion, power structures, symbolic universe frag mentation, cultural life types diversity, world v ision pluralism, religious convictions, controversy themes, the effects of some kind of strategic communication, or specific interests related to classes, groups, ethnical communit ies, relig ious communities, or sub-cultures with specific and alternative orientations. For authors as John Dryzek, James Boh man e Mark Warren, the deliberative democracy model wh ich is based on procedural principle of popular sovereign is too concentrated or too much directed to institutional architectonic. In counterpart, such authors have in common the attempt of developing democracy models which deal with a post-habermasian concept of popular sovereign. A democracy concept that, although is articulated with civ il society and public sphere, however, it is also wider and mo re decentered from institutional bonds[64]. For Simone Chambers, although Habermas is a rad ical procedural democrat, however, he is not a radical social democrat, and, therefore, he is unable to give substantive principles of social justice[65]. For Kenneth Baynes, deliberative model cannot comp letely ignore substantive principles of justice[66]. For William Scheuerman, Habermas would have failed in not facing in sufficient way the radical potential of deliberative democracy (radical democracy). For examp le, social inequalit ies would be barriers so that political co mmunity members would be ab le to participate on power legitimacy generation. The material conditions of globalized societies, with their co mplex dynamics, their internal conditions (power, consumerism, and med ia, for examp le) end by depriv ing the authentic democratic participation. According to the author, interactions demand a certain level, it has to happen under certain conditions, with no external coercions (economic or of power, for examp le). Therefore, mechanis ms able to avoid the influences from unequal social-economic conditions become necessary, for examp le certain levels of equality and respect among participants of public commun ication. For the author, deliberative model cannot give structural conditions of public co mmunications free of certain types of influence which depreciate or affect the quality and result of deliberative process. Deliberative model cannot accomplish all normat ive e xigencies of publicity, rat ionality and equality on most different levels and arenas of public sphere[67]. It seems it is in this way which mo re incisive objections emerge in relation to deliberative conception of public sphere and habermasian polit ics. 5. Conclusions In contrast to critical discourses, the conception of deliberative democracy considers citizens’ participation on deliberations and decision-making the central element of democratic p rocess comprehension. Therein, it focuses formal and normative elements, as the exigency of the citizens’ participation raise on deliberat ion and decision processes and the fomentation of a democrat ic political culture. Deliberat ion procedure is not only a discussion stage which antecedes the decision-making. More than this, it has the aim of justifying decisions from reasons that everybody could accept. This is the deliberative procedure of public reason: it provides a spectrum of reasons that could be accepted by all possible targeted, even though not all share with the theme or subject in question, or with the same life philosophy. According to Marcos Nobre: The procedure, for Habermas, is “formal”, but not in opposition to certain contents, that it would be the abstraction, or for wh ich it would be “empty”, but the process that will permit the emergence of as many voices as possible, of alternatives for action and ways of life, ensuring 65 American Journal of Sociological Research 2012, 2(4): 58-71 its right of expression and participation. It is also formal about the fact the process of political deliberation can not be guided by any determined way of life, by any concrete model of what should be society or citizens who live in a Democratic State of Right.[68] How we can see, deliberation is a procedure which indicates who must participate and how, but it has nothing to say about normative contents fulfilling. Thus, formal principle of de mocratic deliberation cannot be confounded or reduced to other goods, also value, as “social justice”, “State of right”, “social rights” and “cultural rights”, nearer of democracy exp licat ive theories, funded on individual interests and preferences (substantive preferences and interests: or social, or material, o r cultural, or even others). Deliberative procedures scape from restrictions of an only practical reason dimension, which can be moral, ethical or pragmatic [69]. There in, fundamental aspects of public use of reason, trusting more on deliberative procedure of opinion and will formation, can leave open questions. Procedural conception of democracy carries on its core a “tension” between facticity and valid ity. This relation between both constitutes a constant tension found on contra factual prag matic p resupposes which, even full of idealizer presupposes, have to be admitted factually by all part icipants when these wish participating o f a discursive argu mentation in order to justify or deny validity pretensions. The “idealizer presupposes” – of inclusion, universal access, equal communicat ive rights, participation under rights equality, chances equality for all contributions, coercions absence – have only the character of formally guaranteeing a phatic presupposition to enjoy equal chances[70]. For Habermas, this tension is not considered by normative theories (which run the risk of losing contact with social reality) and objectivist theories (which run the risk of being unable to focus norms)[71]. The tension, the conflict, the political d ispute which gets developed on public spheres are inherent to the procedure itself, a “game” in which we are always involved as participants when we intend to discuss, justify or deny validity pretensions. This conflict gets nourished of a game that involves a public sphere anchored on civil society and an institutionalized formation on parliamentary co mplex, a game which involves the format ion of formal and institutionalized will and opinion informal format ion[72]. The tension moves around communicative flu xes, or better, of who m determines communication flu xes direct ion and elaborates normative pretensions on society and political system. A tension between communicative power created on lifewo rld social base and admin istrative power created on politica l system. The public sphere itself is understood, by characteristic, as an unrestricted space of public co mmunicat ion. Nothing can be previously established or restrained. Any subject or problemat ized question can publically get themed, in which public sphere contours are being forged on choice, circulat ion and themes propose processes, and normative contents are being fulfilled depending on who controls and orientates communication flu xes which figure on public sphere[73]. Deliberation quality wh ich gets configured on public sphere depends on a procedure in which the cit izens dispute contributions interpretations for so long until each one is convinced that the best arguments were used. This process is guaranteed by procedural character of deliberation. However, the process result remains “provisory”. This means: in case better arguments are found, the public critique procedure can be open again. This is the reflexive (and critical) character of deliberative public sphere. According to Marcos Nobre: If deliberation and participation must find their place in Democratic State of Right, it will be necessary to accept the game between, on the one hand, the autonomous public spaces and the new institutional forms that they project, and, on the other hand, macrostructures which defines a democratic regime, which will be increasingly tested in their limits and present configurations. Ho wever[Nobre accentuates], it is not about a “free game” between the two extremes, but a political dispute that will on ly show emancipator advances if it can repel, each time, in each concrete conflict, the decisive yoke of money and administrative power.[74] This fallib le comp rehension of procedural paradigm has implications about justice comp rehension and equality sense. First of all, a public sphere, or in an extensive way, a rationalized life wo rld, demands a material and symbolic social base by means of overco ming barriers created by social stratification and by systematic exp lo itation. And here it seems clear that the emphasis of habermasian democrat ic theory does not only moves around political democracy (formal presupposes, as citizenship rights, participation and others), but also claims social democ racy[75]. Secondly, Habermas’ intention is not furn ishing a “substantive” principle of justice, as we have seen. On the contrary, the efforts employed in Faktizität und Geltung[76] aim exactly to abolish substantive princip les, in behalf of “deliberative procedures”, and show the balanced correlation between public autonomy co mprehension and private autonomy. Fo r Habermas, “this internal concatenation (and reciprocal) between private and public autonomy, when we understand it correctly, it constitutes the normat ive core of procedural paradig m”[77]. Thirdly, this habermasian crit ique aims to exp lain the normative debilities of liberal and republican models that, for examp le, fix previously the choice about juridical equality sense; or fix p reviously which subjects are private and which subjects are public. With the procedural paradigm, equality sense determination is thrown on political field of public commun ication. The juridical equality content must be considered object of a political d ispute. A conflict in which equality sense is decided on a public communication process, driven by participants themselves and the possible affected ones through public exercise of opinion and will democratic format ion. Deliberative model considers the concerned ones themselves as responsible by definition of equality criterions to be applied to rights system. Jorge Adriano Lubenow: Public Sphere and Deliberative Democracy in Jürgen Habermas: 66 Theorethical M odel and Critical Discourses Therewith, the foundation of material equalit ies is incorporated on democratic theory as a politica l theory about what needs to be recognized. A fight by juridica l recognition of necessities and peculiar normative exigencies in relation to all juridical co mmun ity, in which interested groups try to present to the others particular experiences of social exclusion, d iscrimination and lacks for convincing about the necessity of a different formal jurid ical treat ment. According to the wide principle of equality of right content, what is equal under relevant aspects must be treated in the same way, and what is different must be treated in a different way[78]. This procedural perspective opens the possibility of evaluation motivated by suffered experience itself with no execution of rights, of existent alternatives in relation to permanence on social paradig m or a return to liberal paradigm. Thus, Habermas finds the emergency of procedural paradig m already established in some contemporary juridical p ractices, wh ich is confined between the criticism to social model and rejection of return to liberal model[79]. However, it is in certain developments of femin ist movements of North-American left ists which Habermas finds the best expression of normative exigencies, of necessity of a procedural orientation of contemporary juridical pract ice: the femin ist movement, when it experimented specific limitations of both anterior paradig ms, it would be now in conditions to deny the blindness in relation to factual inequalities of social paternalist model. In this case, different interpretations about sexes identity and its mutual relat ions have to be submitted to constant public discussions, in which the concerned ones themselves can reformu late the theme or the subject in question to be recognized, and they themselves can decide which necessities need to be corrected by mediu m of right[80]. The habermasian refo rmulat ions about public sphere and democracy of the decade of 90 taken as starting-point and as conducting wire of habermasian investigation are an important step on re-adaptation of public sphere category to the new questions and problems wh ich get incorporated on discussion about public sphere theme, its characteristics, its functions, its porters, its articulations with other spheres and med iator instances. The category reformu lation of public sphere on “preface” of Stru kturwandel der Öffentlichkeit [81] and on Faktizität und Geltung[82] (with a major emphasis over the institutional, and the reformu lat ion of political system notion, opener and more porous), is an attempt of contextualizing and comprehend better the new med iator articulat ions which emerged among life world and civil society spheres, and institutional spheres of political and admin istrative system. It is about reevaluating democratic participation mechanis ms, argumentative elements and the importance they have on opinion and will formation processes and new institutional arrangements. Thus, Habermas could not have made exp licit any addressee in particu lar, but the reformulat ions on public sphere of decade of 90 rescue the importance and the role of civil society, conferring it the right to participation and argumentation, to the increasing impact of reflexivity and to formal democracy. However, it is fro m this theoretical scenario of new co mprehension of circulat ion of political power, of deliberative conception of public and political sphere, that the most incisive critica l object ions emerge over practical imp lications, effect iveness possibilities and influence on institutionalizat ion of claims wh ich emerge fro m the most diverse organizations of civil society and that are able to pro mote changes on political system. Loo k at the controversies about the possibilities of post national public s p here. On “Preliminary Studies and Co mplements” and on “Postface” to fourth edition of Faktizität und Geltung[83], on the interview “Fakt izität und Geltung. Ein Gespräch über Fragen der politischen Theorie”[84], and on “‘Addendum’ to Faktizität und Geltung’”[85], Habermas retakes and tries to elucidate the controversies about public sphere and deliberative politics, the relat ion among life world informal spheres and formal spheres of institutionalized political system, and the way this med iation gets articulated on its core. However, it seems this attempt of better clarifying the articulation between normative auto-comprehension of state of right and the facticity of political processes already moves under a modified theoretical back-cloth of public sphere. After the work Faktizität und Geltung[86], habermasian discussions about practical possibilities of deliberative model of public sphere were being applied little by little to the post-national polit ical field. Especially fro m Die Einbeziehung des Anderen[87], new questions and problems involving public sphere are themed, but they are already thought and emp loyed on a wider context and linked to themes as multiculturalis m, tolerance, recognizing, redistribution, fundamentalis m, secularization, and so forth[88]. But, how can we understand this dislocation? Would it be a new reformu lation? Would it be t ransference? Or would it be another applicat ion field? Or how can we understand it? It seems public sphere category and questions as relation between public and private autonomy, between popular sovereign and human rights, between democracy and State of right, are thought on a modified applicative context, the international amb it (of a post-national public sphere and of a universalist political theory). But this needs to be better investigated. The recent transformations on social, political, economic, cultural and religious panoramas reflect a new dynamics involving national states which get together in regional and supranational co mmunities, of pluralist societies in which mu lticultural intolerance gro ws, and in wh ich citizens are being pushed and involuntarily incorporated on a world society, and also classified in center and periphery. The expansion of debate about public sphere for a g lobal amb it (Weltöffentlichkeit) means the specific theoretical context which has been used until now as base for possibilities discussion and description of a public sphere (co mmon political cu lture constructed on national territorial ambit, State-nation or state authority as public political address, popular sovereign, democrat ic state of right, constitution, 67 American Journal of Sociological Research 2012, 2(4): 58-71 right) would not be enough anymore to understand the new dynamics produced by globalizat ion process of the capital and politics in international terms, or repercussions in world scale as state socialism fall in European eastern countries which produced new democratizat ion experiences, the growing feminist movement in world terms, the movements of China[89] and Africa[90] democrat ization. The habermasian reorientation for a post-national thematic amb it aims to discuss possibilities and fo rms of a constitutional project of a democratic state and of a deliberative democracy which involve public sphere in a g lobal level. For Habermas all national states cannot handle problems of political legitimation (or collateral effects of other action spheres, as economy) caused by transnational movement, and which end by affecting, somehow or other, the institutionalized mechanis ms of leg itimat ion on national states. In this perspective, the base theoretical structure of public sphere formulated in Faktizität und Geltung would already need another reformulation: it would need to be comprehended and applied on European and g lobal contexts. A post-national deliberative public sphere, of wide dimensions, would be a more appropriate arena to theme co mmon relevant problems, and to furnish a better solution to present problems of legitimation faced by institutionalized, international, legal and normative instances. Habermas’ general thesis is the comprehension of a global public sphere as being an extension of characteristics of a national political culture, however, only applied to European and world levels, res p ectiv ely . Since half of 90’s, Habermas and deliberation theorists have been occupied with possibilities and difficulties of deliberative proble ms on international arena of public sphere and politics. On the one hand studies indicate that deliberative public sphere category provides an appropriate analytical perspective to analyze deliberative procedures in litt le groups; that participation and deliberation matters work better in local interactions, conferring more effective ways of democratic participation[91]. On the other hand, studies indicate there are evidences that deliberative public sphere conception provides an appropriate analytical perspective to analyze also deliberat ive procedures on national and international spheres. Although on this level there are also evident failings on deliberative procedures of a political public sphere dominated by a public communication med iated by mass communication flu xes and structures of power, for mass communication dynamics are driven by med ia selective power and by strategic use of social and political power to influence triage and the establishment of the agenda of public matters[92]. Thus, how do theorists handle deliberative procedures which go beyond simp le interactions and get configured on a context of wider, mo re co mp lex and more pluralist context? How does it conciliate necessity of participation and deliberative procedures in contexts of social interaction which show an imp ressive increment on volu me of political communicat ion and need to deal with so wide dimensions? How are part icipation and democratic deliberation thought on global level? Ho w is the interconnection among wo rld life spheres situated locally with public co mmunication on global level thought? How could this connection be possible? When Habermas themes Weltöffentlichkeit, does he still move on theoretical key of society dual theory as system and lifeworld? Although Habermas affirms that deliberation on public sphere, as a mechanism of problems solution and conflicts resolution, is still weakly institutionalized on this level, this is another question which remains open in here and it needs to be better in v es tig ated .[9 3] ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I especially wish to thank Juliana Almeida Marques Lubenow for her rev iew of the paper. REFERENCES [1] Habermas, Faktizität und Geltung. Suhrkamp. 1992. English translation: Between Facts and Norms. M IT Press. 1996 [2] Habermas, Faktizität und Geltung. Suhrkamp. 1992 [3] Habermas, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Suhrkamp. 1981. Spanish translation: Teoría de la acción comunicativa. Taurus. 1987 [4] Habermas, Faktizität und Geltung. Suhrkamp. Page 11. 1992. “Institutional skepticism that would be overcome in Faktizität und Geltung”, cf. Kantner & Tietz, “Dialektik, Dialog und Institutionskritik”, in Lennart Laberentz, Schöne neue Öffentlichkeit. Beiträge zu Jürgen Habermas 'Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit'. VSA-Verlag. Page 127. 2003 [5] Habermas, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Suhrkamp. 1981 [6] Cf. Preface to 3ª edition of Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. 1985 [7] Habermas, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Suhrkamp. 1981 [8] Here, Habermas choose to reproduce the nucleus of the decision-making model of Bernard Peters, instead of the Fraser’s model of a radical democratic socialism (William Scheuerman, “Between radicalism and resignation: democratic theory in Habermas’s ‘Between Facts and Norms’”, in Peter Dews, Habermas: a Critical Reader. Blackwell, Page 163. 1999). For Habermas, the concept of “sluices” provides more democratization than the concept of “besiege” (Habermas, Die Normalität einer Berliner Republik. Suhrkamp. Pages 139-40; 152-3. 1995). Although still remain in Peters a “representative” model, with the difference to give more quality to decision-making process (Bernard Peters, “Deliberative Öffentlichkeit”, in Wingert & Günther, Die Öffentlichkeit der Vernunft und die Vernunft der Öffentlichkeit. Suhrkamp. Page 674, footnote 20. 2001). [9] Habermas, Faktizität und Geltung. Suhrkamp. Page 531. 1992 [10] Habermas, Faktizität und Geltung. Suhrkamp. Page 430. 1992

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